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The Bob Swanson Memorial Exploration Grant

This grant was created by the owners and staff of Big Agnes in honor of our adventurous and worldly colleague Bob Swanson who passed away in 2016.

Bob Swanson, The Tent Guy.

Few in the outdoor industry today know of Bob Swanson or his major contributions to our industry. He co-founded Sierra Designs, founded Walrus tents, then sold that to REI and followed it up by working for REI for several years before going out on his own as a consultant. Big Agnes was fortunate enough to connect with him, and a long relationship was born. His passion for design centered on tents and tent architecture. He is widely recognized for ushering in the use of hubs into tent architecture and represented the cutting edge of shelter designers. We had the pleasure of working with Bob here at Big Agnes for more than a decade. His business card included the title, ‘The Tent Guy’. And while that was fitting professionally, he meant so much more to us as a friend, role model, sage and pioneer of the outdoor industry. Our grant committee will seek to help those who seem to best embody Bob’s spirit and love of life and adventure.

Let us help fund your adventure.

In Bob's memory, the grant will award funds of varying amounts depending on the prospective project needs and its budget. Grants will generally fall between the $500 to $1,000 dollar range. Grants will be awarded once a year and will be announced at the Winter Outdoor Retailer Snowshow.

Learn More About Bob

How to apply.

The 2021 application will open on September 8th, 2021 and will close on November 22nd, 2021. This year's winner will be announced at the Winter Outdoor Retailer Snowshow in January, 2022. Please note your project might not meet the criteria, so please read all responsibilities and details carefully before submitting an application. Stay tuned for information on how to apply in 2021!

Applications Open

Katie Visco, 2019 Bob Swanson Memorial Grant Recipient

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, USA, Katie loves community, trails, and human-powered adventures! In 2009, Katie ran solo across America, from Boston to San Diego, and became the 2nd youngest and 13th woman overall to make the crossing. She spoke with more than 200 audiences along the way to encourage people to leap towards their dreams, and she also fundraised for Girls on the Run. Katie also has 10+ years of experience as a community-builder and entrepreneur. She has started several businesses, and is currently the proud owner and soup chef behind Hot Love Soup, a soup company that makes deliveries by bicycle. In 2019, Katie ran 2,212 miles across Australia with her husband Henley Phillips alongside on bicycle. The trek became the first ever bicycle-supported run across any continent, and the first run across Australia namely on dirt roads. Learn more about Katie and her trek at her site and Instagram. And read all about Katie's epic run across Oz on our blog.